by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 29th 2009 6:33pm
We've discussed recently some of the basic conflicts between the First Amendment and copyright law. The First Amendment, of course, bars Congress from making any law that restricts the freedom of speech, and copyright law does, in many ways, restrict the use of speech. I'm going to have much more to say on this issue shortly, but Michael Scott recently pointed us to a related issue, about how the ongoing attempts of the US to push China into implementing stricter copyright law, which may actually aid the Chinese government in stamping out political dissent (something that the US also claims it's against). The article discusses how western nations have often explained away the conflict between copyright and free speech: a clear distinction between idea and expression (though, many question this) and a strong fair use defense. However, the article points out that the way China is looking at copyright laws, these don't appear to be much of a factor. Now, the Chinese government certainly doesn't care, as they've never been big advocates of free speech. But, for the US, policymakers should be aware that in pushing for stronger copyright enforcement, they may be handing the gov't a tool to crack down on dissent and free speech.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Techdirt Podcast Episode 52: The EU Has Set Privacy & Free Speech On A Collision Course
- Appeals Court Issues Fantastic 1st Amendment Ruling Against Censorious Sheriff Thomas Dart In His Crusade Against The Internet
- Saudi Arabia Says It Will Sue Twitter Users Who Compare It To ISIS; Apparently Skips The NY Times
- German Museum Sues Wikimedia Foundation Over Photos Of Public Domain Works Of Art
- French Government Using State Of Emergency As An Excuse To Round Up Climate Change Activists